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Interior designer ‘kills’ his stepfather after finding his nude photos on his computer


Jade Janks is accused of killing her stepfather. Image Courtesy: Interiors Jade

California: A California-based interior designer has been accused of drugging and strangling her former stepfather, who allegedly used the woman’s nude photos as his computer screen saver.

The 39-year-old interior designer named Jade Janks is currently on trial for killing 64-year-old Thomas Merriman. The duo were co-owners of Butterfly Farms, a nonprofit research institution.

Janks accidentally came across her nude photo on Merriman’s computer while she was tidying up their Solana Beach, California home, according to Assistant District Attorney Jorge Del Portillo.

Later, after digging deeper, she discovered more nude photos of herself on the computer and was “beyond panicked,” Del Portillo told the jury.

However, it is still unclear how the photographs, which Janks sent to her boyfriend on a consensual basis, ended up on her stepfather’s computer.

How did the murder take place?

The prosecutor alleged that following her shocking discovery, Janks “conspired to kill” Merriman.

According to a report by The telegraph, Del Portillo said: “It was not an accident. It was a murder on purpose.

He added that the interior designer killed his stepfather and then presented it as an overdose.

The man died two years ago after Janks brought him home from his rehabilitation center. Even though his mother and Merriman were divorced, Janks took it upon herself to take care of him.

To prove the fact that the 39-year-old woman had indeed committed the crime, the prosecutor presented the jury with a series of incriminating texts which showed that Janks had told his friends about the murder.

She wrote in one of the text messages, “I just dosed it. He wakes up. I really don’t want to be the only one doing this.

Realizing that she could not carry Merriman’s body on her own, Janks enlisted the help of a friend named Adam Siplyak. “I can’t carry it alone and I can’t keep a body kicking in my chest,” she said.

Siplyak admitted to jurors that Janks asked for help. “She said, ‘I killed him, and he’s on the back of my [Toyota] 4Runner. I said, ‘I can’t help you…no way, I’m leaving. I have a son to raise.

It was Siplyak who called the police the next day to report the crime. Cops later found Merriman’s body under a pile of boxes on January 2, 2020.

Marc Carlos, the defense attorney, dismissed the murder allegations and told jurors that Janks’ stepfather had indeed died of an overdose and failing health.

He said, “The medical examiner won’t tell you it was strangulation.” Science does not support strangulation.

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